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Vatican opens official chancery in Kuala Lumpur

Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican gives his speech with Abp Joseph Marino, apostolic nuncio,(C) and Abp Angelo Becciu (R), papal representative, standing behind him, at the opening ceremony of the Vatican chancery in Kuala Lumpur on 23 Nov 2017.

KUALA LUMPUR – The inauguration of the Apostolic Nunciature (Vatican chancery) at Taman U-Thant here took place on 23 Nov 2017.

Archbishop Angelo Becciu, who represented Pope Francis, said the new chancery was made possible with the support from the Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia and “those convinced of the importance of establishing the permanent site of the Apostolic Nunciature in Malaysia.”

“To all, I express His Holiness’ heartfelt gratitude.  This structure symbolises the friendly ties between Malaysia and the Holy See,” Abp Becciu said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, who represented the Government, said the opening of the permanent site proved that Malaysia’s relations with the Holy See were improving.

In his speech, Merican said: “Malaysia has a thriving Catholic community which, along with other existing religious communities in Malaysia, is free to profess and practise its religion.  Our Prime Minister and Government have always been committed to safeguarding the welfare of every religious community in the country, including the Catholic faithful.”

He also said the Govern­ment took a positive step in setting up diplomatic relations with the Holy See, which culminated in Tan Sri Bernard Dompok being posted as Malaysia’s first resident ambassador to the Vatican in March 2016.

Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia Archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino said he hoped that excellent relations between both sides would continue to grow.

Most of the region’s arch/bishops were present including Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu, Bishop Cornelius Piong of Keningau, Bishop Joseph Hii of Sibu, and Bishop Cornelius Sim of Brunei.

Also present was Ambassador of Malaysia to the Holy See Bernard Giluk Dompok.

The property was purchased on 1 Oct 2014, three years after the Holy See and Malaysia established diplomatic relations on 27 July 2011, subsequent to the meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Prime Minister Datuk Najib Razak in the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo.

It is located in the Ampang area in Kuala Lumpur, the zone where other diplomatic representations are found, not far from St John’s Cathedral.

The nunciature was blessed by Abp Becciu the next day, Friday, Nov 24, during a concelebrated Mass with the local arch/bishops.

In his homily Abp Becciu said: “In our ministry as Bishops, we too experience the power of God’s grace working through our own weakness, as we strive in humility to be a rock for those whom we serve.”

He reminded the prelates that they are called to be “a visible sign of God’s rock-like presence in the universal Church and in each of your particular Churches. If there are times when we want to protest our weakness to Christ, as Peter did, we must trust in the Lord’s unshakable promise to be with us always, to strengthen us in our mission as heralds of the Gospel and as shepherds of God’s faithful people. His promise will never fail.” – various sources

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